Works On War

by Works

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Works On War is the result of a project that took place in Milton Keynes between February and May 2015. The project was a collaboration between ‘Planet Zyz’ and the Living Archive Milton Keynes, and was one of the Great War MK projects funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and overseen by The Arts and Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes, to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War.
The participants of Works on War are amongst the most talented of the young generation of singer-songwriters and musicians from Milton Keynes. The project began with the songwriters being introduced to the extensive historical source material that has been collected by the Living Archive about people from the area now called Milton Keynes, who lived through the Great War. This includes a number of interviews (recorded in the 1980’s by Roger Kitchen) in which individuals told their own stories. Each of the writers took something different away from the archive and wrote their songs in response to the implications of these often harrowing accounts.
The songs were arranged, and then a small ensemble of classically trained instrumentalists together with a drummer and a harmonica player were brought on board and recordings of all the music were made, at Unit 9 and at Planet Zyz studios. The poet came in at the end with his own work that was startlingly appropriate to the project, and then went on to create a poetic narrative that linked the songs into a continuous performance.
Living Archive Milton Keynes:
Arts and Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes:


released May 29, 2015

1. Introduction: Young Veterans (poem: Sam Upton music: Anya Hussain/Mitch Taylor)
2. Two Brothers (song: Anya Hussain poem: Sam Upton)
3. The General Said (song: Mitchell Taylor)
4. Link: As Thick and Furious (words: Sam Upton music: Anya Hussain)
5. Homefire (song: Sian Magill, cello: Maddy Hamilton)
6. Link: White Feathers (words: Sam Upton music: Anya Hussain)
7. In The Final Hour (song: Manny Ademolu)
8. Link: Sassoon: ‘Everyone Sang’ (Seigfried Sassoon)
9. Everyone Sang (song: Anna Hester)
10. Epilogue: Peace (Sam Upton)

The songwriters and poet are the main vocalists and guitar players on their own material. Then everyone else helped out:
Extra vocals: Anna Hester Sian Magill, Anya Hussain, Michele Welborn
Mitchell Taylor, Manny Ademolu, Craig Stocker
Harmonium, Hang, Harmonica and Harmonies: Craig Stocker

Drums: Karl Stix Hall

Cello, Electric and Upright bass: Maddy Hamilton, 

Clarinet: Emma Giles

Viola: Jacob Collins

Keyboards: Steven McDaniel

Arrangement and Production:
Programming for Link music: Anya Hussain
Cello arrangement on ‘Homefire’: Maddy Hamilton and Sian Magilll. Ensemble arrangements:
‘Two Brothers’: Anya Hussain
‘The General Said’, ‘In the Final Hour’: Steven McDaniel
‘Everyone Sang’: Anna Hester
Music Production: Steven McDaniel (Planet Zyz)

Associate Producer: Michèle Welborn


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Planet Zyz Milton Keynes, UK

At Planet Zyz ‘Soul Music’ is created. Genre is irrelevant. As a producer I see it as my job to empathise closely with the artists I am working with, and to use the compositional, performance and audio skills I have at my disposal to realise the music they have inside their heads. (That includes my own music!) Every piece tells a story. Check out the website: It’s a bag of gems. Steven McDaniel ... more

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